US Fines Swiss Bank for Sanctions Violations

U.S. law enforcement officials announced Wednesday that they have reached an agreement with one of the world's largest global banks - Credit Suisse - on an investigation involving Iran and other countries trying to evade long-standing U.S. economic sanctions. 

Credit Suisse has agreed to pay a fine of $536 million in connection with a probe into violations of U.S. sanctions against Iran and other countries.

The agreement was detailed at a news conference here in Washington by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

"Credit Suisse, like all other major global banks, knew well that the United States would not process financial transactions from individuals or companies in places like Iran, Libya, Sudan, Burma and Cuba," said  Eric Holder. "But rather than adhere to the law and decline to serve these customers, Credit Suisse established a business model to allow these rogue players access to United States dollars."

Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer described the company's conduct as egregious over a period of several years.  He said Credit Suisse moved hundreds of millions of dollars through the U.S. financial system for countries trying to evade U.S. laws, especially Iran.

"The manner in which Credit Suisse carried out its illegal activities is quite simply stunning," said Lanny Breuer. "The bank's actions ranged from stripping out or redacting the word 'Iran' from payment messages, to substituting code words and abbreviations for Iranian customer names."

Stuart Levey is the Treasury Department's Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.  He said international financial institutions need to be wary of Iran's desire to evade economic sanctions.

"This case also provides a critical and timely lesson about the Iranian government's use of deceptive practices to evade sanctions, and the fact that banks that do business with Iran expose themselves to the risk of being involved in Iran's proliferation and terrorism activities," said Stuart Levey.

Officials say the fine levied on Credit Suisse could have been worse had the company not cooperated after the investigation began.  They also say the company has already made policy changes to bring it into compliance with U.S. sanctions laws.

Attorney General Holder said the case should send a strong signal to the rest of the world.

"Credit Suisse's decades-long scheme to flout the rules that govern our financial institutions robbed our system of the legitimacy that is fundamental to its success," he said. "We cannot let this stand.  And today's settlement sends a strong message that we will not let it stand."

The settlement with the Swiss banking giant is the largest penalty ever assessed by the U.S. officials responsible for monitoring sanctions violations.

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle reports from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs